Alternative Centres of Economic & Political Power: NBSE Class 12

Alternative Centres of Economic and Political Power
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Get summary, textual answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF to NBSE Class 12 (Arts) Political Science Chapter 12 “Alternative Centres of Economic and Political Power”. However, the educational materials should only be used for reference and students are encouraged to make necessary changes.


This chapter provides a comprehensive overview of the political, economic, and socio-cultural developments in China, the European Union, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

It begins by discussing the transformation of China’s economy after the 1949 revolution, with a focus on the state-owned economy. It then delves into the significant decisions made in the 1970s, such as China’s admission to the United Nations in 1971 and the modernisation of agriculture, industry, military, and science and technology. The chapter also explores the post-Mao era, highlighting the establishment of Special Economic Zones and China’s entry into the World Trade Organisation in 2001.

The chapter then transitions to the creation and expansion of the European Union, starting from the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation in 1948, the European Economic Community in 1957, and finally the establishment of the European Union in 1993 through the Maastricht Treaty. The chapter also discusses the symbolism of the EU flag, which features a circle of 12 gold stars representing solidarity, harmony, perfection, excellence, and unity.

It concludes with a detailed examination of ASEAN, which was formed through the Bangkok Declaration in 1967. The three main pillars of ASEAN are discussed: ASEAN as a Security Community, an Economic Community, and a Socio-Cultural Community. The chapter also introduces the concept of the “ASEAN Way,” a system of consensual decision-making that avoids open disagreement and controversy.

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Textual questions and answers

A. Long answer questions

1. Describe China’s new economic policies in Post-Mao Era which enabled it to emerge as a great Economic power. (Or) Analyse the efforts made by China to become World’s biggest economic power, next only to USA.

Answer: After Mao’s death in September 1976, Chinese leaders felt it necessary to liberalise trade and investment. In 1978, China’s powerful leader Deng Xiaoping announced a ‘reformist and liberal’ policy, known as the ‘Open Door Policy’, which Deng called ‘China’s Second Revolution’. This marked the beginning of the Post-Mao Era.

The new economic policies included the privatisation of agriculture, which replaced the stagnating collective farming system. Peasants became the owners of their lands, leading to a significant increase in agricultural production.

Under the New Economic Policy, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) were established in Shanghai and many other coastal towns. These zones allowed foreign entrepreneurs to set up factories and start industries, promoting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Industrialists were given many concessions, and by 2005, China received 72.4 US billion dollars by way of foreign investment.

China also became a member of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) in 2001, opening its economy to many new areas, such as Banking, Tourism and Telecommunications.

As a result of these policies, China has emerged as the world’s largest producer of steel and cement, with a share of more than sixty per cent of the world’s trade turnover. In 2006, eighty per cent of the world’s consumer electronics were made in China. With a sustained growth rate of 9-10 per cent for many years, China stood with a 4-trillion US dollar economy in 2010. Despite some economic inequalities and unemployment issues, China is on its way to becoming the world’s biggest economic and strategic power, next only to the USA

2. Explain the various phases which eventually led to the formation of European Union in 1993.

Answer: During the Second World War the economic structure of Europe collapsed. It was felt that European economy needed recovery. In 1947 American Secretary of State George Marshall presented an Economic Recovery Programme for Europe. It was a Plan for American assistance in promoting European rehabilitation and reconstruction after World War II. In order to provide assistance to countries of West Europe under Marshall Plan, the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) was established in 1948.

The Council of Europe was established in 1949. The countries of Western Europe had already been working in close cooperation with each other for their economic recovery. They felt there was a need for political cooperation also between them. The Council of Europe was a step forward in that direction.

European Economic Community came into being by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. Initially it was signed by the representatives of six European States. By 1986 twelve countries had become members of the European Economic Community’, commonly known as European Common Market.

European Economic Community attained a political dimension with the creation of an ‘Assembly’ which declared itself a ‘Parliament’ in 1962. The European Parliament consisted of delegates chosen by the Parliaments of member-states. By the Treaty of Luxembourg (1970) this Parliament established its control over the budgetary processes in member-states.

In 1992 the foreign and finance ministers of the European Economic Community (EEC) met at Maastricht (a town in Netherlands) to sign the Treaty on European Union. On 1 November, 1993 the ‘European Economic Community’ formally took the shape of European Union.

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5. Explain the three main Pillars of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). (Or) Examine the significance of ASEAN as:

(a) A Security Community

Answer: The 1976 Kuala Lumpur Declaration proclaimed South-East Asia as a ‘Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality’ (Zopfan). The Heads of States signed a ‘Treaty of Amity and Concord’. It said that the member-nations would respect each other’s independence and sovereignty and settle all disputes by peaceful means. ASEAN played an effective role in bringing about Peace in Cambodia. In 1994 the member countries established the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to promote multilateral security dialogue with outside powers, including India, China, Japan and the European countries. The ARF discusses the major regional security issues, such as terrorism and developments in South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula.

(b) An Economic Community

Answer: ASEAN’s main achievements in the economic field are as follows:

  • According to a decision reached at Bangkok Summit (1995), efforts were to be made to speed up the creation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
  • Efforts are being made to have a Common Market for trade and investment.
  • Attempts were made to improve Dispute Settlement Mechanism also, so as to find the solution to economic disputes.
  • ASEAN representatives negotiated with the United States and European powers for freer world trade under World Trade Organisation (WTO).

(c) A Socio-Cultural Community

Answer: The ASEAN community endeavours to promote cultural activities. These countries have had an effective system of communication. This helped regular telecast of cultural programmes throughout the region. Mutual cooperation also increased in the fields of population control, sports and higher education.

B. Short answer questions

6. What was the programme of Four Modernisations which Prime Minister Zhou Enlai undertook in China?

Answer: In 1973, Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai embarked upon a programme of Four Modernisations (Agriculture, Industry, Armed Forces and Science and Technology). He said modernisation would transform China into a powerful Socialist Country.

7. What was a SEZ established in China in the Post-Mao era?

Answer: Under the New Economic Policy, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) were established in Shanghai and many other coastal towns where the foreign entrepreneurs had the freedom to set up factories and start industries. In order to promote Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), industrialists were given many concessions.

8. What was the Marshall Plan?

Answer: In 1947, American Secretary of State George Marshall presented an Economic Recovery Programme for Europe. It was a Plan for American assistance in promoting European rehabilitation and reconstruction after World War II.

9. What is ASEAN Way?

Answer: It is a system of consensual decision-making in which “open disagreement and controversy are avoided at all costs.” The Members do not impose their opinions and beliefs on member-nations who are in a minority. All matters are decided by consensus.

10. Name the Three Pillars that explain ASEAN’s role.

Answer: The three pillars that explain ASEAN’s role are:

  • First Pillar: ASEAN as a Security Community
  • Second Pillar: ASEAN as an Economic Community
  • Third Pillar: ASEAN as a Socio-Cultural Community

11. What do the Circle and 12 Gold Stars on the EU Flag show?

Answer: The European Union Flag is decorated with a circle of 12 gold stars. The ‘Circle’ shows that there exists solidarity and harmony amongst the people of Europe. Traditionally in Europe, the number ’12’ is believed to be a symbol of perfection, excellence and unity.

12. What does the ASEAN Flag display?

Answer: The Flag displays the ASEAN logo: the ten stalks of paddy (rice still in the husk). The ten stalks represent the South East Asian countries bound together in Solidarity and agreement with each other. The Circle shows the ‘Unity of Purpose’ among the members.

C. Very short answer questions

13. Name the Treaty that formally established European Union in 1993.

Answer: The Treaty that formally established the European Union in 1993 is the Maastricht Treaty.

14. Name the Declaration through which ASEAN was formed.

Answer: ASEAN was formed by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand through the Bangkok Declaration signed on 8 August 1967.

D. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✔) the correct answer

15. China was admitted to the United Nations in the Year:

Answer: (b) 1971

16. European Union’s currency is called:

Answer: (c) Euro

17. Which Country among the following is a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council?

Answer: (a) France

18. Which among the following is not a founder Member-State of ASEAN?

Answer: (d) Vietnam

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Extra/additional MCQs

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